“No matter how they arrive in the family, an adopted child is a child of the parents who adopted them.” HealthyChildren.org
There are countless heartwarming scenes from adoption courts all over the country with new families literally jumping for joy. National Adoption Day celebrates these families every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. This year’s commemoration will be held across the country on November 20th.
Last year, 4,000 kids got a family thanks to National Adoption Day. The day was started by a coalition consisting of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Alliance for Children’s Rights, and Children’s Action Network. The group can take credit for many of the 2.1 million adopted kids in the US today, but thousands more in foster care remain waiting for a family.
Each adoptive family is unique, with its own needs and life story. There is one thing that is common for all these families, though: The legal process of adoption is often complicated, confusing, and expensive.
Who Can Adopt in California?
Let’s say you’re a single male living in California dreaming of a child of your own. You’ve been wary of even beginning the process because you don’t have a partner. Will you even be considered?
It’s true that married couples are most likely to adopt, no matter what state they live in. However, single and divorced people may also adopt in California. (Check the laws in other states if applicable to your situation.) To put it another way, any adult residing in California may begin the process to adopt a child; the only caveat is that the child must be a least ten years younger than the person petitioning. If you fall into any of the following groups, you can adopt, too:
- A husband and wife or two domestic partners, jointly.
- An unmarried adult, individually.
- The unmarried minor birth parent of the person being adopted.
- An unmarried adult along with the birth parent of the person being adopted.
- An adult who is married or has a domestic partner with the consent of their spouse or domestic partner.
Remember that adoption is regulated by state laws. You need to know what those laws are before you get started. States have different rules on things like advertising for birth parents, birth mother expenses, adoption subsidies, and other important issues. Also, if you live in one state and the child lives in another, it’s best to investigate both. You don’t want to get the hopes of a child up and then have to disappoint them when you find out you overlooked a law that applies to you.
Types of Adoption
There are three primary types of adoption: infant adoption (domestic), foster care adoption, and international adoption. Family type is another way to group adoptions: single parents, stepparents, grandparents, and same-sex adoptions. There are challenges, but also rewards, to each.
Your state’s laws will help determine who can best assist you in your type of adoption. At some point, you will probably need an attorney to complete the adoption. For best results, find one that specializes in your category. If you are that single male in California who wants to adopt a child, find an attorney who has experience with that type of family unit.
There are other professionals who can work on the adoption with you until that final step. Adoption agencies will have one or more people assist you through the paperwork. If it is a private adoption, a legal document assistance service can save you a great deal of money. The service can provide the documents as well as assistance in completing the required paperwork involved.
In some states, like California, if a proceeding is uncontested, you have more options. There are many cases that can stay out of court completely, except for the final resolution that has to be approved by the court. Check around, ask questions, and do your research before putting together a team that is right for your adoption.
Adoptions Can Be Expensive
Adopting the newest member of your family isn’t about money, but the expense must be accounted for. The Child Welfare Information Gateway reports that adopting through a private agency or from another country can cost $5,000 to $40,000. That’s a large range of costs; one way to think about it is that the more people are involved, the larger the price will be. For example, if you are working through a state agency, you will be faced with paying fees like these:
Fees paid to a public adoption agency – up to $500
Medical examination, fingerprinting, and court-filing – $100-$300
An investigation of independent adoption petition –$1,500 – $4,500
International adoption adds costs such as travel, immigration documents, and interaction with a foreign adoption agency. These items can add thousands of dollars to the final adoption bill.
Using an attorney to handle the adoption, especially when it is a private adoption, comes with a hefty price tag between $8,000 to $40,000. The average is $10,000 to $15,000.
Deal with the sticker shock before you begin the adoption. Ask lots of questions and use all the legitimate help available. It’s worth talking about those in more depth.
There Is a More Affordable Way to Adopt
A People’s Choice is a legal document preparation service that can subtract hundreds of dollars from the cost of adding this child to your family. Currently, our fees are:
- Stepparent adoption – $499 for one child, plus an additional $150 for each sibling
- Adult adoption – $499
- Termination of parental rights because of abandonment or unknown paternity –$599
- Independent adoption – $650
Adding a child to your family will bring you boundless joy, but you don’t want it to bankrupt you. There are cost-effective services that will put you and your newly-adopted child center stage in one of your own National Adoption Day photos.
“Excellent service, fair prices, professional and prompt attention. Made our adoption process easy and affordable. Attorneys wanted three times as much for their bloated assistance. Thumbs way up.” Michele M.
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